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The Slocum Tirade
 

So, I live near DC, and I have written about a thousand letters - all 'A' material - to the editor of the Washington Post. Naturally, not one of them has ever been published.

Recently, however, I finally had better luck, finally getting a LTE published, although in a slightly less prestigious paper. The Heber Springs, Arkansas Sun Times to be exact. Actually it is one of the ten least prestigious papers in the U.S., but I am adding it to my resume nonetheless.

What inspired my LTE was a letter printed in the Sun Times from a Ms. Julia Slocum of Edgemont, AR which took a somewhat negative tone regarding Atheists. That is not unusual. What IS unusual about the letter is the sheer concentration of venom, erroneous information, and unadulterated bigotry she managed to cram into only 346 words.

Her letter is printed below, followed by my response.


(Julia Slocum's letter in Heber Springs, Arkansas Sun Times 7Mar05)
Atheism: No place for integrity...
Dear Editor: Atheists are still crawling out from under their rotten logs. The Bible calls them "willingly ignorant" - meaning "dumb on purpose." This condition causes them to hear the exact opposite of what is being said. The latest, "charming, woefully uninformed" lady atheist is full of venom. Christ said if they hated Him, they would hate His followers. She accuses Christian culture of a long history of violence. Let's see what atheism has wrought: Atheism, Nazism, Socialism, Communism are basically the same. They all lack intellectual and moral integrity. Charles Darwin lost his faith in God when he read atheist Charles Lyle's "Principles of Geology." Darwinism (Evolution) has had a devastating impact. It's an anti-Christian system of beliefs and practices, completely antagonistic to God. It's responsible for every "ism" to come down the pike in the last century. Hitler (Nazism) was turned aside by the platitudes of the atheist, Frederick Nietzsche (the idea of a master race). Christ never did what Hitler did. Hitler and his regime, were followers of atheists, not Christ (Christian). Carl Marx had Darwin write an introduction to "Das Capitol" because felt he had provided a scientific foundation for Communism. Anyone who pushes the Communist conspiracy also pushes an evolutionary, imperialistic, naturalistic view of life, endeavoring to crowd the Creator out of the Cosmos. Stalin, murdered more people than Hitler. When asked what should be done with the 15,000 or so, Polish officers that had been captured, answered, "They are just Poles. They haven't 'evolved' as far as we have. Shoot them." So they did. Mussolini, who frequently quoted Darwin, said war was necessary for the survival of the fittest. The subtitle of Darwin's book is "Preservation of favored races in the struggle of life." Who gets to decide the "favored races"? Christ particularly hated baby murderers. Non-believers are responsible for the American Holocaust of abortion. Over 40 million babies have been murdered in the last 32 years. By atheists. Pol Pot, Osama bin Lauden, Saddam, (not Christians) killed millions. Christians are being systematically murdered in Sudan now by atheists.
Julia Slocum, Edgemont
 

(My response printed on 9Mar05)
Atheism much misaligned!... (the editor probably meant 'maligned')
Dear Editor: In her comments on Atheism, Ms. Slocum, in what seems to pass for tolerance and compassion, released a torrent of hate, untruth, and accusation against Atheists, calling them dishonest, dumb, ignorant, comparing them to the vilest of murderers, the worst of liars, the most despicable of characters, and yes, insects.
Ms. Slocum may have gone a bit over the top. For the record, Charles Darwin did not write an introduction for Das Capital. All you have to do is check your facts. That was a bit of false witness on the part of the Ms. Slocum. Also for the record, Hitler was a catholic who was never excommunicated from the church. Ms. Slocum seems to confuse Nazism and Communism, and to be unaware that Hitler was an anti-communist - enough so that he killed 20 million Soviets in the war he started against them. The Communists/Socialists killed another 20 million of their own because they were murderous despots consolidating power by eliminating all dissent. Absolute power was their only motivation.
Atheism had nothing in common with Nazism and was never cited by a single Nazi as justification for any act or motivation. Socialism and Communism, were extreme political ideologies which replaced one religion with their own - the all good, all powerful, all knowing STATE.
Ms. Slocum says that Atheists "lack intellectual and moral integrity". This is also contrary to the facts. Atheists are, demographically speaking, more highly educated than the ardently religious. They are far more likely to be engaged in Science than in mythology. They are less likely to end up in either prison or in congress - both of those institutions contain a higher percentage of god-believers than the general population. And you will find that Atheist are everywhere, participating in society, in government, in education, in research, in law enforcement, in the military, in homes and families, no different than any other person, except far less likely to viciously and dishonestly attack another person for their privately held beliefs.
As an Atheist, I will contrast and compare my intellectual and moral integrity with any member of the religious community. I have a strongly developed sense of right and wrong. I believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am a Navy veteran and a patriot and an activist supporter of the Constitution and the First Amendment. I am a fully enfranchised, law-abiding citizen, a parent, a taxpayer, and I am engaged in the community. I keep a nice home in good repair. I do not kill or steal. One does not need the ancient god-fables to know what is right.
Ms. Slocum's tirade begs the question: if Atheists are the scourge to America that she says we are, where is the actual evidence of that. It looks to me that the worst transgressors of national morality and ethics come from dishonest politicians, clergy behaving badly, the greed-driven captains of industry. It looks to me that ignorance and superstition and faith-based assaults on our education system do far more damage to our moral and intellectual integrity than Atheists ever could. 
(This last paragraph was edited for length, but I include it here because it was part of my original response)
Ms. Slocum's irrational, misinformed and frightening diatribe against Atheists starkly illustrates what we are up against; the most hateful, bigoted, and unfounded attacks on us by people awash in religious fervor, frequently claiming biblical justification, and employing flagrant lies and the vilest of hate-speech . For most of the last 2000 years, people like myself have fared poorly at the hands of people like Ms. Slocum. We have literally been hunted, imprisoned, tortured and killed for the unforgivable sin of having arrived at a different opinion than the dominant religion mandates. Only the Constitution and the First Amendment have protected free citizens of good conscience from the witch-burning mob mentality that mindless hatred justifies and facilitates. If people like Ms. Slocum had their way, we would find ourselves once again living in a country where it was lethal and criminal to be an Atheist or to disagree with the official religion. That is exactly the way it is handled by the Taliban.
 
 ©The Assertive Atheist




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